William Strong
Field: Priest

William Strong, independent minister, was buried in Westminster Abbey in July 1654 but his body was disinterred after Charles II was restored to the throne. Several other followers of Oliver Cromwell were also ejected and re-buried in a pit in the adjoining St Margaret's churchyard. In 1880 a grey fossil marble tablet to Strong, and three other preachers who had been ejected, was erected against the west wall of the south transept of the Abbey. The inscription reads:

"Near this spot were buried William Twisse D.D. 1646 Prolocutor of the Westminster Assembly, Thomas May 1650 translator of Lucan and secretary to the Long Parliament, William Strong 1654 - Stephen Marshall 1655 Parliamentary preachers. These were removed by Royal Warrant 1661".

The names of those who had been re-buried in the churchyard are carved on the exterior tower of St Margaret's.

Strong was probably born in Dorset and was possibly a son of Timothy Strong. He was educated at Cambridge university and was a staunch Puritan. In 1640 he became rector of Moor Crichel in Dorset but when the Royalists arrived he fled to London. He was lecturer at the church of St Dunstan in the West in Fleet Street and was appointed minister there in 1647. Two years before he had been appointed one of several preachers at Westminster Abbey (they preached in place of a traditional daily service) and he spoke before the Houses of Parliament. Also he was a weekday lecturer at St Margaret's Westminster. The Westminster Assembly of Divines met in Henry VII's chapel in 1643 and later in the Jerusalem Chamber at the Abbey and Strong became a member in January 1646. His wife was Damaris and they had several children but their names are not known. Perhaps William, admitted to Cambridge university in 1652, was a son. Strong died suddenly in June 1654. It is said he had a brother Valentine whose son Edward worked as a stone mason under Sir Christopher Wren.

A photo of the memorial stone can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

"The ministers of the Abbey Independent Church 1650-1660" by Rev.Ira Boseley, 1911.

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